Computer and pencils on a desk
Constructive learning



Constructive learning:

  • is focused towards sense-making, i.e. developing understanding
  • focuses on concepts and the links between concepts
  • focuses on learners being able to explain and apply concepts in their own words, rather than only recall memorised facts
  • is also called deep / meaningful learning
  • is the opposite of rote / shallow / inert learning

Optional additional reading: Meaningful learning: Definition and characteristics

Examples of constructive online learning:

  • learners answer a quiz in Quizlet, and then explain the work tested in the quiz in their own words
  • learners predict the outcome of a PhET simulation before engaging it it. They explain why they predict this outcome. Learners then perform the virtual experiment with the simulation, and compare their prediction to what they observed. Where these differ, they explain what they had misunderstood to make the incorrect prediction, and why the observation happened, instead.
  • learners pause a You-tube movie at certain places to explain what they have just heard in their own words.
  • learners engage in a debate in an online discussion forum, e.g. on Padlet. The debate is about whether electric vehicles will replace petrol and diesel vehicles in South Africa within the next 50 years. In their post on the discussion forum they have to (1) state their opinion (2) justify their opinion in their own words, referring to (a) pros and cons of each type of vehicle (b) relevant factors affecting whether South Africa is likely to change to electric vehicles in the next 50 years and (c) how their opinion is supported by (a) and (b).

Examples of rote / shallow online learning:

  • learners answer a quiz in Quizlet, but afterwards cannot explain the work in their own words
  • learners either do not predict the outcome of a PhET simulation before engaging in it, or do so without an explanation of why they think this is what will happen. After the PhET investigation, they do not explain the observations in their own words.
  • learners do not explain what they have heard in a You-tube movie in their own words.
  • learners engage in a debate in an online discussion forum, e.g. on Padlet. The debate is about whether electric vehicles will replace petrol and diesel vehicles in South Africa within the next 50 years. In the discussion forum anyone may post whatever they like. Learners tend to (1) state their opinion and (2) justify their opinion largely with shallow responses such as emotional / name-calling / copy-paste responses.




teachonline@ufs.ac.za   |   University of the Free State South Campus   |   +27 51 451 1024 / +27 78 508 0848



CONTACTS

Access (UAP)
Lydia Moilwa
+27 51 505 1201
MoilwaML@ufs.ac.za

Applications and Registrations: Open Distance and E-learning Programmes
Lourette Wilson
+27 51 505 1378
WilsonLA@ufs.ac.za

Distance-Education Programmes
Lebohang Seseane
+27 51 505 1452
TsekeletsaL@ufs.ac.za

Short Learning Programmes
Charlene Afrika
+27 51 505 1474
AfrikaCM@ufs.ac.za

South campus webpage1

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